Do these 6 things to make your Facebook profile more professional
There are nearly 3 billion people on Facebook, more than any other website or platform on Earth. Naturally, that makes it a great place to build your professional brand – but only if you do things the right way.
If you want to start using your Facebook profile more professionally, follow the tips below to learn how to curate and maintain a standard of professionalism that’ll keep your profile looking clean for years to come.
1. Compartmentalize your Facebook presence
Facebook was released to the general public more than 15 years ago. That means, for many of us, there are a lot of posts, photos, and comments in our Facebook profiles. Our personal profiles might not be the best thing for our professional reputations.
Even if you don’t have an “unseemly” Facebook past, it can be hard to create a professional persona alongside dozens of pictures of family events, “Food-Grams”, and random photos that you’ve been tagged in. No matter how family-friendly your profile is, a decade-plus Facebook history is just a little bit much for professionalism.
That’s why many professionals opt to create a separate, public, and professional Facebook account. Doing this allows you to curate a professional image that will never be affected by your grandmother commenting how adorable you look in a photo…at age 38.
Take Maryland Attorney Alex Brown’s professional page, for instance. A separate Facebook page for your professional life, like this one with a clean headshot and appearance, makes it easy to keep your work persona looking neat and organized.
2. Monitor what you’re tagged in
It seems as though you can be tagged in something slightly embarrassing every single day on Facebook. Maybe it’s a candid picture of you with a funny expression on your face because you weren’t expecting to be in a photo. Maybe you dozed off on the couch one afternoon and your kids decided to post a silly photo.
No matter what, though, you may not want these types of photos displaying prominently in a Facebook feed that you want to look professional.
Keep an eye on all the posts you’ve been tagged in by checking once a week/month. If you see a tagged photo or post that you don’t want to be shown to clients or customers, remove the tag. Monitoring what you’re tagged in is one of the most important things you can do as a professional on Facebook because you never know when somebody’s going to tag you in an embarrassing photo from the neighborhood barbecue!
3. Prune your profile
If you’ve elected to keep your personal and professional Facebook profile the same, you have some purging to do. Take a look through your account and delete or hide any post that doesn’t fit your professional tone.
It may take you a few hours to sort through years and years of photos and posts, but it’s worth it to keep your professional image looking sharp. It’s a bit like landscaping – you have to cut the grass, trim the trees, and more to make your yard look presentable. If you want your Facebook to look professional, you’ll have to do the same thing.
4. Never settle for weak imagery
Use a professional headshot for your profile picture and a clean and bright cover photo. Also, make sure anything visual that you post looks as professional as you’re aspiring to look. If the images on your professional Facebook profile look sloppy, it’s likely that no one will read the words associated.
Furthermore, people have short attention spans (especially online) and are quick judges of quality and professionalism. You’ve only got a few seconds to make a first impression, so make it count.
Free graphic design tools like Canva make it incredibly easy to create and use clean, professional visuals on all of your profiles.
5. Avoid overdoing it
Social media is a fine art that requires a lot of restraint. If you post multiple times per day, you will likely wind up with low post engagement, a dwindling audience, and a sense that your social media efforts aren’t paying off.
If you have something valuable to offer those who “like” your page, post it. If not, don’t. Far too many people waste time and resources trying to be thought leaders, but you don’t have to.
It’s far better to post too little than it is too much.
Alongside that, it’s better on social media to strike a tone that rests between “fully serious professional” and “completely unserious.” Avoid being overly serious, as well as trying to make every post a Wendy’s-style brand tweet.
Just be yourself, as you would in the office or at a work function, and you’ll strike the right tone.
6. Remember, it’s the internet, not thanksgiving dinner
Finally, this one goes without saying but always bears repeating: do not engage with the negative things Facebook is known for. Unless your career/brand is closely related to politics, social issues, or anything else that’s hotly contested in the culture, steer clear.
You can save the debates and arguments for Thanksgiving with your relatives – nobody has ever boosted their professional reputation by engaging in political debates on Facebook. If it’s not right for the office, it’s not right for your professional Facebook profile. Of course, there may be issues and events that make you feel called to take a stand, and that’s okay – just don’t get dragged into a comment war.